Pain in Left Buttock


Hi Forum,

Would appreciate some suggestions re buttock pain that radiates
down the back/outside of my left side sometimes all the way to the
ankle. I developed this when I started to do the Simple Program
and as a result increased the number of swings that I normally did. I am
a female and had progressed to single swings with 16kg.
(I'm athletic, had training from an RKC earlier and did a more
varied kettlebell program in the past). I stopped swinging and goblet
squats for several weeks and the symptoms disappeared. I started up again
with 14kg. but again developed the same symptoms. I'd like to continue
with the Simple program-the strength building was great. Any ideas?


More than 5000 posts
Pick a small hard ball (tennis ball) and roll out your buttock. Look for trigger points on youtube.


Double-Digit Post Count
No, get it checked out by a medical person. Sounds like nerve impingement. Dont do anything that aggravates it until you get a diagnosis.

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Michael is correct - get checked by a medical pro and make sure there isn't something going on.

Where are you located?


Thanks for replies. Yes, I did get it checked out and was told it's probably
sciatica and was given some exercises to do, which I do. What is strange
is that the only activity that seems to aggravate it is kettlebell
swings. I've been doing swings for 5 years with no problems-it
just seems that when I kicked up the number for Simple that I started to
have problems-especially with the one handed left swings. I love the simplicity and effectiveness of the program. I was hoping the pain would just go away...
Thought I might ask here before going back to my KB trainer here in Seattle.
(I train independently)



More than 300 posts
very well could be trigger points.... if the doc says its nothing serious, then roll out the glutes with a foam roller or large hard ball. A lacrosse ball is probably too small of a diameter.

When I first did it, I was amazing at how many trigger pts I had in my glutes and hamstrings.


More than 300 posts
Definitely give trigger points a look. There are no downsides to trying. I'm not trying to replace medical advice, but just remember that trigger points mimic symptoms of other conditions. If the trigger points clear up the symptoms, and there are no other indications of sciatica, it could have just been a misdiagnosis. More often than not in MY experience, doctors have misdiagnosed wrist and shoulder problems that trigger points cleared up. Doctors are trained to notice and diagnose certain types of problems. Obviously don't disregard what they say, but if clearing up trigger points clears the symptoms, have the doctor reevaluate.


Double-Digit Post Count
Foundation Training will solve this. Go to and check it out. The heart of this training is the hip hinge and posterior chain muscles. Perfect complement to KB Training, swings especially. I had serious back issues and now no pain and I'm stronger than ever. You'll learn to stabilize your back/pelvis and the sciatica will fairly quickly centralize and disappear. The DVD has some exercises specifically for sciatica. They also have a small but growing number of certified instructors.
I highly recommend this.


More than 300 posts
Deb, the S&S program is big on starting where you are, learning the moves, and building up gradually. Does the 5 sets of 2-handed swings at beginning bother you?
If the doc has given you ok to go, why don't you dial back to a comfortable (no pain!) level of sets, no matter how low it is, and then gradually increase the number of sets? Stay with 2-handed 'til your up to the 10 sets, then blend in 1-handed over a some weeks. Asking because you mention the S&S was an increase over what you did need to jump up too fast- small increases add up quickly over time.

Paul Sellers

Triple-Digit Post Count
Deb, a quick test and also relief from sciatica (if it is that) is this: if the pain is on the left side stand tall with neutral spine, relaxed and right hand braced on a wall. Shift your weight onto the right leg and, keeping your left leg loose and relaxed, kick your left leg down as if snapping it straight. Try not to kick it out to the side, just lean slightly to the right and snap your left leg down as if snapping out a towel. If the pain gets easier it's probably a disc impingement on the sciatic nerve. Hope this helps.

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Who checked it?
Dr. Physical Therapist, Chiro??

X-Ray, MRI etc...?

The fact that left arm swings are more of an issue is very interesting.


Thanks for each of your posts.
I was examined by an MD, orthopod, who happens to be my brother-in-law, and
is quite familiar with my activities as we often take active vacations
together. (KBs aren't well known to him though.) Had an extensive physical exam
but no x-ray or mri.
Tried your test, Paul and there was some relief.
Perhaps as Tom has suggested, I should really dial back and start again after
this bout of pain has subsided....... and get my KB technique checked out. I've never had such issues in the past re any activity except for the Simple program.
I had started it in earnest in Jan. of this year in what I thought was a sensible manner.
Thanks for the tip on foundation training, John.

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Deb, great to have you here. Hope you are able to get the pain worked out and continue your practice. S&S will do great things for your body, mind, and spirit!


More than 300 posts
I'm assuming he did a number of movement tests but did he look at rotation of the lumbar vertebrae and relationship of the two sides of your pelvis to each other and the SIJ at the backswing position? You may be over rotating on your left side as compared to the right, you could have an unstable SI joint, it could be piriformis syndrome, or it could be something else altogether like an upslip or rotation of one side of your pelvis. True vs apparent leg length discrepancy measuring might provide more insight. I can't diagnose you on the interwebz, but thought I could provide a different perspective even if the provocative testing he did didn't show anything. I'm not challenging findings of the tests performed, but I don't know all that he tested so there may be something else.

One thing I wouldn't do is go after it with a ball of any sort. Even if you have a tight muscle putting pressure on the nerve, the last thing you need to do is put direct pressure on the nerve itself and irritate it. Once it goes past the knee, you're talking nerve involvement for sure although you can't tell where the problem exists just based on that info. Not sure if your bro is familiar with muscle energy techniques, but they are a good way to reset a misaligned pelvis and a quick way to see if a misalignment could be the cause. A quick SFG review of your form might reveal some movement imbalances that may help as well. Good luck!

Sean Schniederjan

Triple-Digit Post Count
If the piriformis isn't firing, try this (this fixed my wife's issue in about 10 seconds)

Lay on your right side and "sideways squat" (flex both knees and hips) so the left leg is airborne and the right is against the floor.

Now extend the left knee and gradually bring the left hip into deeper flexion. It should look kind of like a pistol squat. But gravity is pulling on you sideways -especially that left leg- instead of down. Hold for 10 seconds or so.

This forces the piriformis to do its thang.

No clue if this is what's going on with you, but something easy to look in to.

slot canyon

Double-Digit Post Count
I doubt the original "guest" poster will see this but thought I would give it a try. I would like to know her outcome because the events leading up to her onset and subsequent symptoms mirror mine. After about 4 months of no improvement and re - aggravation of my left hip and sciatic pain I had MRI which showed no disc herniation or spinal stenosis. I have been doing some piriformis stretches but no improvement. Symptoms also when doing pushups. Swings and deadlifts are no go. Even some discomfort when do pull ups. I hope Deb is "healed" and if so how it came about.
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